Contact: Joshua Wescott, Office of the County Executive (608) 267-8823 or cell (608) 669-5606
Zoo Attendance Sky-Rockets in Early 2009; Far Exceeding ’08 Figures
Dane County’s Henry Vilas Zoo has a new electric vehicle to use for conservation education thanks to a generous donation from Madison Gas and Electric (MGE). The Neighborhood Electric Vehicle or NEV, is powered by batteries that store electricity and can run an entire day of errands through the zoo grounds before needing to be charged up.
“Thanks to the generosity of MGE, our free zoo has a terrific new tool to help teach kids and families the importance of conservation and taking care of the world we live in,” County Executive Kathleen Falk said.
“MGE is pleased to help demonstrate environmentally-responsible technology with this new educational vehicle for the zoo,” MGE CEO Gary Wolter said.
The NEV is shorter and narrower than a normal van, making it easier to maneuver through the zoo’s walkways. It is primarily used to transport animals used for conservation education but also helps move equipment and supplies around the zoo.
Because it’s electric, the NEV is environmentally friendly and doesn’t produce any exhaust or emissions. It plugs into a standard electric outlet to charge and can travel up to speeds of 25 miles an hour.
The vehicle was purchased locally, thanks to a generous donation from MGE, at Ozee Cars in Stoughton. MGE’s logo and a variety of zoo images are on the sides and back of the van.
So far this year more than 152,000 people have visited the Dane County Henry Vilas Zoo. That’s 30,000 more than last year at this same time.
“These numbers show that more and more families are choosing close-to-home destinations, like our free zoo and parks, for rest and relaxation during the national economic downturn,” Falk said. “Bring your kids and families, learn a lot and have fun at the zoo!”